Sony has announced that they’re releasing 24 of their movies with a “clean version” available at no extra charge for films purchased on iTunes, VUDU, and FandangoNOW. These “edited for content” versions already exist on airplanes and for broadcast, and now Sony is making them available for anyone who wants a version of the movie that’s been “adapted for a wider audience.” According to Yahoo, the films with clean versions include:
- 50 First Dates
- Battle Of The Year
- Big Daddy
- Captain Phillips
- Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
- Easy A
- Ghostbusters II
- Grown Ups
- Grown Ups 2
- Spider-Man 2
- Spider-Man 3
- The Amazing Spider-Man
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2
- Step Brothers
- Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
- White House Down
One of the weird things about this list is that the only R-rated movies on this list are Elysium and Step Brothers. For the other 22, nothing prevents an underage viewer from just buying the unedited version and watching it.
So my question becomes: Who is this for? Is there someone out there who’s like, “I’d really like to show my kid Talladega Nights, but I need it censored”?
On the one hand, I don’t believe that studios should censor their movies, but that battle has already been “lost” in the sense that they all do it in order to make their films available for broadcast and for airplanes. Sony isn’t going out of its way to cut up their movies; they’re taking something they already have and trying to make it a selling point for their digital content.
Which brings us back to: who is this for? Even if you want to make the argument that Sony is trying to circumvent third-party companies likes ClearPlay and VidAngel, those companies have either run into technical issues (like ClearPlay) or they’re tied up in litigation (like VidAngel). So if it’s not to compete with third parties, then it’s presumably for parents who want to share these movies with their kids, but not show their kids the real version of the movie. It’s confusing.
What do you think of Sony selling “clean versions”? Is it a valid selling point? Sound off in the comments section.